Dawn of a New Democracy in Pakistan: Legal and Political Implications of Nadeem Ahmed v. Federation of Pakistan
Madhulika Kanaujia & Rimi Jain*
Volume 2 Issue 4 (2009)
In July 2009, a Fourteen-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Nadeem Ahmed v. Federation of Pakistan, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has come out strongly in support of democratic principles hitherto neglected in Pakistan, by issuing a stern and categorical rebuke to the constitutional excesses by the former President and Army Chief, General Pervez Musharraf during his rule. The judgment also facilitates the initiation of the subsequent parliamentary process of prosecution of the General for treason for violating the Constitution, which would ultimately seal the fate of not only the man, his regime and its sympathisers, but also the very future of the melange of constitutional breakdowns and political coups and martial law in Pakistan. Pakistan, born one day before the independence of India, is a namesake democracy where democratic values have remained as elusive as the political stability which successive generations of Pakistani citizens have yearned for. Four political coups, a dominant history of military rule, three wars with India and great internal instability in the form of indigenous terror outfits have distorted the existence and efficacy of democratic institutions in the country. Moreover, the repercussions of the internal political affairs in Pakistan have always had a nefarious influence on the strategically fragile relationships in the Indian subcontinent. In the course of this article we intend to primarily engage in a critical analysis of the landmark judgment in light of the political and legal developments that unfolded in the run-up to the proclamation of Emergency in 2007 and those that ensued in the aftermath of this constitutional breakdown in light of persistent struggle for power and domination that has existed between the judiciary on one side and the legislature, executive and the military on the other since the inception of the State, and which remains unresolved till today.